Strategic Planning and Policy Development

Effective long-term planning in catchment, coastal & marine areas is fundamental to maintaining the ecological health of our aquatic ecosystems & ensuring social values such as fishing, tourism and recreational activities are protected in the future.

Legislation and policies that guide development within environmentally sensitive zones and the day to day management in these areas must be clear, concise, equitable and based on sound scientific principles.

BMT WBM staff are recognised experts in their fields and work closely with Government agencies and authorities across all three levels of Government to effectively integrate science into planning and policy frameworks and in the development of industry and best practice guidelines.

In this area, we specialise in:

  • Strategic policy formulation, analysis and advice
  • Managing statutory reviews and auditing the effectiveness of environmental planning and policy documents
  • Technical guideline development
  • Training and capacity building
  • Technical and policy peer review services

Recent Relevant Projects

Review of the Healthy Waterways Partnership Ecosystem Health Monitoring Program (Queensland)

The South East Queensland Healthy Waterways Partnership’s Ecosystem Health Monitoring Program (EHMP) monitors the physical, chemical and biological condition of fresh, estuarine and marine waters, from Noosa in the north to the New South Wales border in the south and Toowoomba in the west.

Operating since 1999, the Partners of the Healthy Waterways Partnership sought to review the success of the EHMP in meeting its objectives and assess the future relevance of EHMP, given future management actions, technological advances and scientific improvements in monitoring design and implementation. 

Commenced in early 2010, the EHMP Review process was managed by the Partnership’s Secretariat, with BMT WBM acting as the external Review Coordinator. The review itself was undertaken by a panel of national experts. Based on the proceedings and discussions of the Review Panel during a week-long workshop, BMT WBM prepared a comprehensive Review Report which outlined the outcomes, resolutions and recommendations of the review process.

These recommendations were summarised into a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework which will be used in the development of the EHMP business case to extend the program.   The Framework was published on the Healthy Waterways website in 2011. 

Policy Development and Guidelines – Wetlands and Coasts (Queensland)

BMT WBM and project partners Buckley Vann Town Planning Consultants assisted the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management in the development of policies, codes, guidelines and supporting information material for two landmark changes to the Queensland environmental planning system: 

  • The State Planning Policy for wetlands in Great Barrier Reef Catchments, gave effect to a long term Government commitment to provide increased protection to freshwater wetlands in the central and northern Queensland.  
  • The Queensland Coastal Plan (also a State Planning Policy) replaces the State Coastal Management Plan and provides coastal management outcomes and policies that must be considered in preparation of planning schemes and in the context of coastal and marine development applications.

The combined Buckley Vann/BMT WBM team worked closely with the Department in the conceptualisation and drafting of key policy, code performance objectives and acceptable solutions for both instruments as well as the development of associated guidelines and case studies for implementation. 

Ramsar Snapshot (National)

BMT WBM’s ecology and environment team are wetland specialists with demonstrated experience and expertise with respect to the Ramsar Convention, its application to development proposals (as a matter of National Environmental significance) and in preparing technical assessments and management plans for Ramsar sites.

Building on this expertise, BMT WBM was commissioned by the Australian Government to undertake a national review of documentation supporting the Ramsar Estate in Australia.  This project involved the collation and review of the status of Ramsar Information Sheets, Ecological Character Descriptions, and Management Plans for each site. 

The Snapshot also involved a survey questionnaire of site managers which obtained information about the threats and perceived impacts occurring at each site, key information gaps and monitoring needs.  The report was published on the Department’s website in 2008.